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Information for Parents

Do you have a child considering Camp America next summer? We want to make sure you’re as involved in the process as possible and have all the information and support that you need as well. Keep reading to find out more…

What is Camp America?

Camp America was established in 1969 and is part of a larger group, The American Institute for Foreign Study (AIFS) founded by Sir Cyril Taylor, GBE. Camp America has offices in Australia, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Poland, with head offices in London, UK and Stamford, USA. Camp America is a cultural exchange programme and every year we provide almost 8,000 young people from all over the world with the opportunity to take a work placement of up to 9 weeks at a summer camp in the USA. Taking part in Camp America has many benefits - it can help improve the confidence, responsibility and communication skills of young people as well as encourage and develop their independence and life experience. As a result, it’s often very appealing to future employers and is a great inclusion on a CV.

Applying for Camp America

Applicants are required to complete an online application which should be submitted with two references (which should adhere to our reference requirements) and an up-to-date criminal background check through the relevant organisations requested by Camp America based on their country of application. Once their online application is complete, applicants are also required to take part in an interview with one of our approved interviewers. Once placed, applicants will then be required to complete a visa application with their local US Embassy and arrange for a Camp America medical form to be completed by their doctor. Please note: unless otherwise stated, acceptance onto the programme in no way guarantees a placement.

The Interview

Applying to Camp America will involve completing stage one of the online application form, paying an application fee, and taking part in an interview with a trained and vetted Camp America interviewer. Generally, our interviewers are young people who have participated on the programme for two or more years, and their responsibility is to assess that anyone applying to Camp America possesses the skills, experience, maturity, and ability to participate. Interviewers generally conduct interviews online. All applicants will also be required to attend a face-to-face meeting with Camp America staff at an occasion which they will be informed of.

Camp America Fees & Refunds

For the breakdown of our current fees, please click here. Please also note that Camp America does not cover certain charges and travel costs that participants may incur. All payments are non-refundable if the cancellation is made by the applicant – however, if cancellation is a result of a bona fide medical reason, that is backed-up with an official confirmation, all payments less the Application Fee will be refunded. Additionally, if a placement is not found, a full refund less the Application Fee, will be issued of the payments made to Camp America directly. Unfortunately, we are unable to refund any third-party payments such as any police check and medical form fees. Camp America charges a fee both to the applicant and to the camp. Fees are charged to cover the costs of running a fully supportive programme which includes flights to and from New York, the provision of group medical and accident coverage, staffing, provision of orientations, and the work incurred in searching for and securing a placement on summer camp.

Visa Application

As a visa sponsor designated by the US State Department, Camp America will provide placed applicants with the necessary DS-2019 form (Certificate of Eligibility) which is required to apply for a J-1 visa. Additional forms are supplied via the website of the US State Department and Camp America provides all applicants with detailed instructions on their Camp America Online Account, which offers a step-by-step guide throughout the entire visa application. The applicant will then be required to attend a personal interview at their local US Embassy (in the UK, this will be at either the US Embassy in London or the Consulate General's Office in Belfast) and it should be noted that this could take a couple of hours to attend and costs of travel to and from the Embassy is the responsibility of the applicant.

Placement & Camps

Participants are expected to complete a placement that will last on average 9 weeks (10 weeks for day camps). Whilst on a camp, participants are answerable to the Camp Director. It should be noted that camps in the US often have very strict rules and regulations regarding areas such as curfews, alcohol, smoking and behaviour towards campers and staff. Participants should expect to be asked to leave camp if they break camp rules. Being fired is not a pleasant experience and, to minimise the disruption on camp, it should be understood that following a firing participants may be asked to leave camp immediately. Camp America will then work with the participant regarding the situation and their next steps.

Travel to and from the USA

Each participant has the option to choose the Camp America flight option or to arrange their own flights to and from the USA. If they opt for the Camp America flight package, the participant does not need to pay for the flights upfront, instead paying slightly more in fees and receiving less pocket money at camp. We will take care of all the booking to ensure the participant arrives at camp right on time. Participants are also protected from any sudden price hikes on flights if placement comes late and will receive full support from Camp America for all flight and travel related queries. Where possible we also try to arrange for participants at the same camp to travel together, so the excitement and camp bonding begins before take-off!

Once a participant has landed in the USA (typically in Newark or New York), their onward travel to camp could include plane, train or bus. Some camps may even arrange private transport depending on size and location. Between Camp America and the camp, participants will receive full instructions for onward travel to help them arrive at camp on time. Where group travel is not possible, participants may be required to travel alone, but any fees paid out in overland travel to camp will be reimbursed by the camp.

At the end of their placement, if they have chosen the Camp America flight package, participants are required to make their own way back to New York for their flight home. We do offer flights from other specified airports in the USA for a small upgrade fee, and this upgrade will also allow you to hold off on choosing your return flight for a minimum of two weeks before departure, ensuring participants have the utmost flexibility to create travel plans with new friends at camp.

Taxes

Due to recent changes to the tax laws in the U.S. income tax system, and the elimination of personal exemptions (which was $4,050 per individual in 2017), Camp Counselors and Campowers (who hold J-1 visas) will now have taxes deducted from their pocket money and will be required to file a U.S. Federal income tax return and, in certain cases, a State income tax return to satisfy their U.S. income tax liability.

Please be aware that Camp America cannot legally give advice on US taxes. However, Camp America does work with a US tax specialist called Sprintax who can help participants complete their tax return forms at a Camp America arranged discounted rate. You can also do the forms on your own if you feel confident. Camp America will send the participant a reminder in February after their return home about US tax obligation including information about Sprintax and how to use their service. Please note that US tax return must be completed no later than April 15 of the following year.

Terms & Conditions

Before applying, applicants are asked to read and confirm they have understood all the Camp America Terms & Conditions. To view our Terms and Conditions please click here.

Still have some questions?

If you still have questions regarding Camp America, the application process, the costs and inclusions, or anything else related to our programme, please follow the links below to read our FAQs or send us a message directly using our contact form.